"We do not accept Visa Electron cards, because these cards were not designed to take payment where the cardholder was not present, nor do we plan to do this in the future."This is obviously rubbish as Electron cards are used with other online retailers all the time.
"I can also confirm that Electron Cards could not be used online this was because the card issuers insisted that the cardholder was present at the time of the transaction which is not possible for online purchases. I would suggest you to check with your issuing bank as they can upgrade your card to allow you to shop online with us."
Plus, it's a Debit Card: where's the risk?
I made a point of getting my local Halifax Bank to check this — as Tesco is blaming them — and (thank you Haley) she made a point of absolutely confirming this. It is Tesco refusing to accept them not the banks insisting that they can't.
The impression that Tesco is creating is that they are essentially discriminating against a particular class of people for no good reason and, secondly, that they don't appear to care about the impact of this policy on very vulnerable people.
Maybe if more people contact them, they might move, although you have to be suspicious that there isn't some commercial reason actually lying behind this (though I'm always inclined to the stuff-up theory).
Every little helps!
Here's your chance to do something — contact Tesco and tell them to start accepting Electron (they could do this TODAY).
Addendum - Africa is ahead of us:
ACCESS TO FINANCE – WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND HOW DO SAVINGS BANKS FOSTER ACCESS
A study for the World Savings Banks Institute (WSBI)
Avoiding exclusion by design and condition
One of the biggest tangible commitments a savings bank can make to maintaining access for vulnerable groups is to retain a basic savings passbook system with procedures to allow this to be accessed at any outlet. This is specifically mentioned by Caisse d’Epargne, France as a product of fundamental importance to “fragile groups” but is common among the savings bank movements around the world. This is not to say that savings banks are wedded to old technology – in the same submission Caisse d’Epargne, France describe their VISA Electron card programme as a budget management tool for the same fragile groups and proximity banks in South Africa are following exactly the same strategy (Teba Bank – ACard).